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Spanish Language Films


BROWSE SPANISH FILMS: Contemporary Spanish films: ALPHABETICAL INDEX - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 | New releases | Spanish-language film collections | Spanish & Latin American film directors | Spanish & Latin American actors & actresses | Books about Spanish language cinema

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Spanish-language films on DVD & Video 5



Deep Crimson / Profundo carmesí
 


Crime / Drama (1996)
Mexico
Director: Arturo Ripstein
Starring: Daniel Giménez Cacho, Regina Orozco
Description: Based on the true story of the "Lonely Hearts Murders," renowned director Arturo Ripstein’s Deep Crimson (Profundo Carmesí) is an emotionally charged and profoundly original take on serial killing. Nicolas Estrella has made a meager living seducing and then stealing from lonely, often widowed, women he meets through the personal ads in local newspapers. While trying to victimize Coral, a hefty, half-mad nurse obsessed with Estrella’s movie star looks, Nicolas can’t help falling in love with her merciless enthusiasm for his seedy lifestyle. Together, the pair roam the back roads of Mexico looking for lonely women who Nicolas seduces and the insanely jealous Coral then murders. These lovers turned assassins feed on the misery of others with each murder binding them together all the more closely until a pitiful confession from Nicolas prompts the pair’s fitting demise.
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Freedomfighters / Libertarias


Drama / War (1996)
Spain
Director: Vicente Aranda
Starring: Ana Belén, Victoria Abril
Description: Spain, July 19, 1936. The War has just begun and women as always play their part in this human tragedy. Maria, an innocent young nun, is forced to leave the convent after the arrival of the revolutionary troops in Barcelona. She takes refuge in a brothel, where she meets a group of "Libertarias", who are being "drafted" for the "Free Women" organization under the leadership of Pilar (Ana Belen) a pure feminist warrior, passionate and fiery. Alongside, Charo (Loles Leon) the hooker with the heart of gold and Floren (Victoria Abril) a spiritualist, Maria joins in. Within the brutal realities of war, Maria experiences love with an unexpected character and companionship through those she is fighting with. Libertarias is an epic of six women fight for freedom, their struggle for justice amid their passionate cry for a better world. One of Spain’s best known directors, Vicente Aranda, Winner at the Tokyo International Film Festival, has made 17 previous films including the internationally acclaimed Amantes.
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Thesis / Tesis
 

Drama / Horror (1996)
Spain
Director: Alejandro Amenábar
Starring: Ana Torrent, Fele Martínez


Review: Spanish director Alejandro Amenábar grabbed the attention of American audiences with his dreamy thriller Open Your Eyes, but he earlier sent shock waves throughout Spain in 1996 with this disturbing debut. Thesis is a quietly creepy psychological thriller about a young college student, Ángela (Ana Torrent) investigating the social fascination with sensational violence for her thesis project. In her search for violent video footage, she stumbles onto what may be a real live snuff film, a videotape that her professor was watching before his untimely death. With the help of a geeky gore junkie she uncovers a conspiracy that may include her handsome but sinister new boyfriend, her thesis advisor, and even her weirdo partner. When she uncovers one too many secrets lying in the catacombs of the university basement, she realizes that she may be the next victim. It goes on perhaps too long, and Amenábar's pointed observations on the lure of violence and the dark side of human nature are lost as the spiraling mystery spins into a first-person nightmare, but his skill at weaving a paranoid world where evil may lurk behind every friendly face is undeniable. Thesis is reminiscent of Brian De Palma's early thrillers: dark, stylish, subdued, and bubbling with the characters' guilty (and ultimately dangerous) fascination with the transgressive.
Review by Sean Axmaker
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Land / Tierra
 

Drama / Romance (1996)
Spain
Director: Julio Medem
Starring: Carmelo Gómez, Emma Suárez
Review: Julio Medem doesn't direct his films so much as weave them: images, characters, criss-crossing stories, and recurring motifs intertwine, blur, and transform through time. Tierra begins in the heavens and plummets to Earth, the camera rushing through space down to the red dust of a remote wine-growing region in Spain. Ángel (Carmelo Gómez) attempts to find grounding in his work (he's been hired to fumigate the area, which has been infested by wood lice) but finds his wandering soul torn in two directions. Initially attracted to the lovely, lonely, ethereal Ángela (Emma Suárez), he finds himself drawn against his better nature--in the form of a guardian angel, a phantom double that watches over him like an aggressive but well-meaning conscience--to the earthy, passionate, impulsive Mari (Silke). Medem sets his tale of love and lust amidst the stunning, austere landscape of fiery red hills, a world both primal and alien (dressed in white protective suits, the fumigators look like astronauts on Mars). Like his earlier film The Red Squirrel (which also starred Gómez and Suárez), Medem winds multiple stories together with natural history and philosophical musings until it all melts together in a lovely and unexpected conclusion. Medem crafts an equally dense story in his acclaimed follow-up film, The Lovers of the Arctic Circle, but where that film leapt into the emotional world of tragic melodrama, Tierra transforms "wrong" choices into revealing insights about the beautiful contradictions of human nature.
Review by Sean Axmaker
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Mouth to Mouth / Boca a boca
 

Comedy (1996)
Spain
Director: Manuel Gómez Pereira
Starring: Javier Bardem, Aitana Sánchez-Gijón
Description: Critics everywhere can't stop talking about this outrageously sexy comedy treat! To make ends meet, a struggling actor (Academy Award(R)-nominee Javier Bardem -- Best Actor, Before Night Falls, 2000) reluctantly takes the only "acting" job he can find ... as a phone sex operator! But the real fun begins when he falls for a sultry, mysterious caller who wants to do more than just talk -- setting in motion a hilariously madcap, sexy adventure! Prepare yourself for nonstop laughs and unforgettable fun.

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Not Love, Just Frenzy / Más que amor, frenesí
 

Comedy / Drama (1996)
Spain
Director: Alfonso Albacete, Miguel Bardem
Starring: Nancho Novo, Cayetana Guillén Cuervo

Description: Not Love Just Frenzy is a fast and funny adventure through the wild Euro club scene in the style of the scandalous Pedro Almodovar! A group of hot and horny twentysomething friends looking for love at Madrid's hottest disco get tangled up in a maze of wild sex, drugs and gunfights as they encounter flashy drag queens, self-absorbed gigolos and a whole host of other outrageous characters. Accompanied by a dynamite soundtrack and starring many of Spain's top young actors, including appearances by Penelope Cruz (Vanilla Sky), Javier Bardem (Before Night Falls) and Bibi Andersen (Kika) as a high-class lesbian pimp, Not Love Just Frenzy is too hip to miss.
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Guantanamera


Comedy / Drama (1995)
Cuba / Spain
Director: Juan Carlos Tabío, Tomás Gutiérrez Alea
Starring: Carlos Cruz, Mirta Ibarra
From the Cuban directors of Strawberry and Chocolate (Tomás Gutiérrez and Juan Carlos Tabio) comes a poignant romantic comedy with satiric bite. Yoyita is a famous singer who returns to the town of Guantanamo for a celebration in her honor. Reunited with her girlhood lover Candido after 50 years, she dies in his arms from overstimulation. The farce of returning her body to Havana for proper burial provides the vehicle for an easygoing yet incisive overview of contemporary Cuba and a lighthearted admonishment to live for the moment. Yoyita's niece Gina, who is a former professor of economics, and her tyrannical husband, who is the official undertaker for the remote province, make up the procession, along with the forlorn Candido. As the cortege makes its way toward the capital, Gina is given a second chance at love with a hunky truck driver while we become privy to the clandestine restaurants, abject road stops, and endless slogans that populate the hitherto underexposed Cuban countryside.
Review by Fionn Meade
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Midaq Alley / El callejón de los milagros
 

Drama (1995)
Mexico
Director: Jorge Fons
Starring: Ernesto Gómez Cruz, María Rojo
Synopsis: With humor, pain and love for mankind, the film tells the story of three neighbors whose lives are intertwined. Rutiloio, the family man with homosexual feelings; Susanita, who dreams of getting married but falls prey to a thief; and Alma (Salma Hayek), a virgin who becomes a cocaine snorting prostitute.

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Flamenco
 

Music (1995)
Spain
Director: Carlos Saura
Starring: La Paquera de Jerez, Merche Esmeralda
Synopsis: Exploring the sensuous delights and dark mysteries of life by uniting music , song, and dance, Flamenco is one of the purest and most stunning performance films ever made. With an exceptional history that reaches back nearly five hundred years, the magnificent art of Flamenco music and dancing has long been an integral part of the Spanish heart and culture. Joining 300 of the world's greatest Flamenco performers with master cinematographer Vittorio Storaro (Apocalypse Now, The Last Emperor), director Carlos Saura has magnificently transferred the beauty and power of Flamenco to the screen. The result is an unbroken series of electrifying numbers that range in emotion from heartbreak to elation and that shimmer with sexual energy while reaching a thrilling level of virtuosity.

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Flower of My Secret / La Flor de mi secreto
 

Drama (1995)
Spain
Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Starring: Marisa Paredes, Juan Echanove
Review: Pedro Alomodóvar made this misfired, rambling comedy about a romance novelist (Marisa Paredes) whose crumbling marriage has left her depressed and unable to work. At a low point, she writes a scathing indictment of her own books (which are penned under another name), with no one realizing critic and author are one and the same. Almodóvar (Law of Desire) has the start of a great idea here, and for once, he's direct about his sympathy for a character. But nothing else about The Flower of My Secret is so clear. Despite its unusual allegiance to the straightforward "women's films" of the 1950s, this movie blows it by becoming needlessly complicated over extraneous junk, forcing one to grope in the dark for Almodóvar's point.
Review by Tom Keogh
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Strawberry & Chocolate / Fresa y chocolate
 

Drama / Comedy (1994)
Cuba
Starring: Jorge Perugorría,
Vladimir Cruz
Directors: Tomás Gutiérrez Alea,
Juan Carlos Tabío
Review: This charming Cuban film details the unusual relationship between the flamboyant, educated Diego (Jorge Perugorría) and the young, homophobic, pro-Revolution David (Vladimir Cruz). Miserable at being dumped by his girlfriend, David at first spurns the attentions of Diego; however, at the prompting of his Communist roommate, Miguel (Francisco Gattorno), he cultivates an acquaintanceship with Diego in order to investigate his liberal leanings. Of course, Diego's cultured ways prove fascinating to the younger man and a true friendship grows. Add the slightly crazy neighbor Nancy (Mirta Ibarra), who frequently attempts suicide, as romantic fodder for David, and this playful drama becomes a heartwarming film. Disputed in its own country, this film was the first Cuban picture to be nominated for best foreign picture at the Academy Awards.
Review by Jenny Brown
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